Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà – John Adams: Portrait


Quebec violinist Angèle Dubeau is making a case for modern classical music. After recording albums dedicated to Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt her latest CD is a sonically gorgeous set by the American composer John Adams featuring Road Movies John’s Book of Alleged Dances and Shaker Loops . Adams writes “vehicular music” and Dubeau and her all-female string ensemble La Pietà capture the driving recklessness of his music as well as the precision shifting of gears. Their Alleged Dances use prepared piano and percussive strings to satisfyingly groovy effect especially in “Rag the Bone” and “Hammer & Chisel.” Shaker Loops one of Adams’s earliest works creates an infectiously propulsive wall of sound. In Road Movies Adams’s sonata for violin and piano Dubeau and Louise Bessette set a breakneck pace attacking the tight rhythmic corners and growly interjections. Adams is a uniquely gifted writer as well as composer and the liner notes include many of his own poetic descriptions of the work. Of the “Habanera” movement from Alleged Dances he writes: “The loops dance the robot Habanera while the aging dictator watches from the wings. Too many rafts headed for Miami. Had to give up his beloved cigars. Lament for a season without baseball.”